Wednesday , June 19 2019
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Achieving business excellence

It is clear that leadership means different things to different people. A recent article highlighted 10 key words associated with leadership – vision, motivation, serving, empathy, creativity, thoroughness, managing, team building, taking risks, and improving.

I’d like to think these 10 words could apply to me 100 per cent of the time but, realistically, leadership in my case is successfully guiding and directing an experienced group of valuable people in a longstanding yet very evolutionary industry leading organisation.

This position has not been gained just because of the group’s 30‐plus year history but because it has become, over time, arguably Australia’s largest also offering advisory services and new business activities such as direct selling and co‐working spaces.

And we are Australia’s largest energy aggregator with a national energy spend over $1 billion.

Born in the 1980s with a specifically Melbourne focus, Procurement Australasia’s evolution over the last five years has been dynamic. No longer is it firmly focused on the Victorian market, its birthplace, but with a national and even international outlook, the latter because the group’s business and processes are now formally accredited by two independent global standards – CIPS Procurement Excellence Standard and ISO 9001‐2015 – an impressive achievement and one of which our ‘leadership’ is extremely proud.

The CIPS Standard covers five dimensions – Leadership & Organisation, Strategy, People, Processes & Systems, and Performance Management – and is a truly crowning achievement.

In this evolutionary vein, 2018 was a year of ‘leadership’ developments and saw us move to a ‘people first’ leadership style with a range of initiatives brought in under a comprehensive People & Culture framework: People Matter – Living our Values (Ethical, Professional, Collaborative and Diverse, in everything we do).

Why did we do this? As I said, the organisation has evolved dynamically over the last five years. Our 2017 acquisition of Australia’s leading aggregator in the not‐for‐profit sector, Church Resources, brought us not only a new brand and a new sector in which to operate, but also new people and a new culture requiring understanding, nurturing and blending as we moved to amalgamate back office systems to gain quantifiable savings.

The result is new organisational‐wide values together with a leadership team ‘behaviour’ charter that combine with a number of Employee Value Propositions designed to help us become an employer of choice.

These values developed out of a series of workshops involving staff volunteers from both brands and so are truly representative of the business and the standards we hold ourselves and colleagues to. Falling out of this work are programs in the areas of professional development, employee attraction and retention, health & wellbeing and parental leave.

We are delighted with the achievements in this vital area of the business, and management is fully supportive of work that is helping Procurement Australasia become employers of choice. With both brands operating in different verticals, we are committed to seeing staff and Members continue to benefit from being aligned with all parts of the Group.

Focusing on our people is one of three key strategic directions we consolidated in 2018: Clients; Systems; People. So, as a the leader of such a dynamic organisation, I work together with and support my teams with the aim of us becoming subject matter experts in procurement functions covering key strategic categories such as energy, HR, aged care etc.

My 2019 leadership challenge is to support our people grow all our offers into existing and new markets. We want to be known for our exceptional customer service; an organisation whose culture is “10 out of 10 or nothing” when it comes to client engagement and customer service.

It is opportune here, then, to record my sincere thanks to our wonderful staff and Executive Team who all help me ‘lead’ such a dynamic organisation. Of course, too, successful leadership comes as a result of dedicated Board Members who also provide invaluable guidance and support.

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Joe Arena, Chief Executive Officer Procurement Australia and Church Resources
Procurement Australasia Pty Limited